Tag Archives: money laundering

Chidambaram’s bail plea rejected in INX Media scam case

Newsroom24x7 Network

P. Chidambaram

New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Tuesday evening turned down former Union minister and senior Congress leader P Chidambaram’s plea for an urgent hearing on his anticipatory bail petition after his anticipatory bail plea linked with money laundering cases related to the INX Media scam was dismissed by the Delhi High Court earlier during the day.

After the apex Court rejected Chidambaram’s plea for urgent hearing into the anticipatory bail matter, a team of CBI and Enforcement Directorate sleuths reached his house at Jorbagh in the union Capital amidst talks of the possibility of his arrest.

Chidambaram has gone missing and his cellphone was switched off.

CIA Factbook: Afghanistan is world’s largest producer of opium and the US is largest consumer of cocaine

Newsroom24x7 Network

Afghanistan is world’s largest producer of opium while the United States of America is the world’s largest consumer of cocaine and a major consumer of ecstasy and Mexican methamphetamine, besides the US is also a money-laundering center.

This information is derived from the American Central Intelligence Agency’s most popular publication — The World Factbook.

Presenting the global scenario visi-a-vis illicit drugs, the CIA document, which falls short of giving the latest data, states that worldwide coca leaf cultivation in 2013 amounted to about 165,000 hectares, assuming a stable crop in Bolivia; Colombia produced slightly less than half of the worldwide crop, followed by Peru and Bolivia; potential pure cocaine production increased 7% to 640 metric tons in 2013; Colombia conducts an aggressive coca eradication campaign, Peru has increased its eradication efforts, but remains hesitant to eradicate coca in key growing areas, it has been pointed out.

In terms of opiates, the CIA Factbook goes on to state that worldwide illicit opium poppy cultivation increased in 2013, with potential opium production reaching 6,800 metric tons.

Afghanistan is world’s primary opium producer, accounting for 82% of the global supply; Southeast Asia was responsible for 12% of global opium; Pakistan produced 3% of global opium; Latin America produced 4% of global opium, and most was refined into heroin destined for the US market (2015).

What the CIA Factbook says about some countries

Afghanistan

world’s largest producer of opium; poppy cultivation increased 7 percent, to a record 211,000 hectares in 2014 from 198,000 hectares in 2013, while eradication dropped sharply; relatively low opium yields due to poor weather kept potential opium production – 6,300 metric tons – below the record set in 2007; the Taliban and other antigovernment groups participate in and profit from the opiate trade, which is a key source of revenue for the Taliban inside Afghanistan; widespread corruption and instability impede counterdrug efforts; most of the heroin consumed in Europe and Eurasia is derived from Afghan opium; Afghanistan is also struggling to respond to a burgeoning domestic opiate addiction problem; vulnerable to drug money laundering through informal financial networks; illicit cultivation of cannabis and regional source of hashish.

Australia

Tasmania is one of the world’s major suppliers of licit opiate products; government maintains strict controls over areas of opium poppy cultivation and output of poppy straw concentrate; major consumer of cocaine and amphetamines.

Hong Kong

Despite strenuous law enforcement efforts, faces difficult challenges in controlling transit of heroin and methamphetamine to regional and world markets; modern banking system provides conduit for money laundering; rising indigenous use of synthetic drugs, especially among young people.

India

World’s largest producer of licit opium for the pharmaceutical trade, but an undetermined quantity of opium is diverted to illicit international drug markets; transit point for illicit narcotics produced in neighboring countries and throughout Southwest Asia; illicit producer of methaqualone; vulnerable to narcotics money laundering through the hawala system; licit ketamine and precursor production.

Italy

Important gateway for and consumer of Latin American cocaine and Southwest Asian heroin entering the European market; money laundering by organized crime and from smuggling.

Pakistan

Significant transit area for Afghan drugs, including heroin, opium, morphine, and hashish, bound for Iran, Western markets, the Gulf States, Africa, and Asia; financial crimes related to drug trafficking, terrorism, corruption, and smuggling remain problems; opium poppy cultivation estimated to be 2,300 hectares in 2007 with 600 of those hectares eradicated; federal and provincial authorities continue to conduct anti-poppy campaigns that utilizes forced eradication, fines, and arrests.

Russia

limited cultivation of illicit cannabis and opium poppy and producer of methamphetamine, mostly for domestic consumption; government has active illicit crop eradication program; used as transshipment point for Asian opiates, cannabis, and Latin American cocaine bound for growing domestic markets, to a lesser extent Western and Central Europe, and occasionally to the US; major source of heroin precursor chemicals; corruption and organized crime are key concerns; major consumer of opiates.

Singapore

Drug abuse is limited because of aggressive law enforcement efforts, including carrying out death sentences; as a transportation and financial services hub, Singapore is vulnerable, despite strict laws and enforcement, as a venue for money laundering.

South Africa

transshipment center for heroin, hashish, and cocaine, as well as a major cultivator of marijuana in its own right; cocaine and heroin consumption on the rise; world’s largest market for illicit methaqualone, usually imported illegally from India through various east African countries, but increasingly producing its own synthetic drugs for domestic consumption; attractive venue for money launderers given the increasing level of organized criminal and narcotics activity in the region and the size of the South African economy.

Spain

Despite rigorous law enforcement efforts, North African, Latin American, Galician, and other European traffickers take advantage of Spain’s long coastline to land large shipments of cocaine and hashish for distribution to the European market; consumer for Latin American cocaine and North African hashish; destination and minor transshipment point for Southwest Asian heroin; money-laundering site for Colombian narcotics trafficking organizations and organized crime.

Turkey

key transit route for Southwest Asian heroin to Western Europe and, to a lesser extent, the US – via air, land, and sea routes; major Turkish and other international trafficking organizations operate out of Istanbul; laboratories to convert imported morphine base into heroin exist in remote regions of Turkey and near Istanbul; government maintains strict controls over areas of legal opium poppy cultivation and over output of poppy straw concentrate; lax enforcement of money-laundering controls.

United Arab Emirates

The UAE is a drug transshipment point for traffickers given its proximity to Southwest Asian drug-producing countries; the UAE’s position as a major financial center makes it vulnerable to money laundering; anti-money-laundering controls improving, but informal banking remains unregulated.

United Kingdom

Producer of limited amounts of synthetic drugs and synthetic precursor chemicals; major consumer of Southwest Asian heroin, Latin American cocaine, and synthetic drugs; money-laundering center.

United States of America

world’s largest consumer of cocaine (shipped from Colombia through Mexico and the Caribbean), Colombian heroin, and Mexican heroin and marijuana; major consumer of ecstasy and Mexican methamphetamine; minor consumer of high-quality Southeast Asian heroin; illicit producer of cannabis, marijuana, depressants, stimulants, hallucinogens, and methamphetamine; money-laundering center.

What ails India’s Income Tax Department

Lalit Shastri

income taxThere is a general perception among the masses that the Income Tax department, has largely failed, along with other enforcement agencies, to curb the menace of black money and come down heavily against those involved in money laundering -an activity that poses a serious threat to national and international security.

Besides the general perception, what is adversely affecting the working of the Income Tax department across the country is much dithering and neglect of important matters, especially issues relating to management of junior and mid-level cadres, by the Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT).

The Income Tax Gazetted Officers’ Association and Employees Federation has been agitating for the immediate regularisation of the ad‐hoc promotion for the revenue year 2014‐15 and promotion for the revenue years 2015‐16 and 2016‐17 as sanctioned by the Union Finance Minister.

The Joint Council of Action representing the Income Tax gazetted officers and employees is also demanding the settlement of pay‐anomalies in various cadres, as acknowledged by the Seventh Central Pay Commision.

Another issue pending relates to the Recruitment Rules that are to be approved by the concerned authorities and notified.

There is considerable heartburn among the junior and mid-level cadres of the Income Tax Department with regard to the new format of the APAR (Performance Appraisal Report) for the Assessing Officers. They are seeking immediate withdrawal of this format by asserting that it is discriminatory and tilts heavily in favour of PrCCITs and CCITs.

Representatives of Income Tax officers and employees are meeting in the first week of June to take up all these matters. They would also discuss the issue of promotion from ITO to ACIT and also take up the issue of promotions in other cadres. They will even thrash out the issues of Annual General Transfer in the JCIT/ACIT cadres and the officers whose case has not been considered in the latest transfer orders of the CBDT for Annual General Transfer 2016 which is being described as a deviation from the existing transfer policy.

What is also bothering the Income Tax officers across regions is the anomaly in sanctioned and working strength of ACsIT/DCsIT and scrutiny of their workload.

US report on Counterterrorism indicts Pakistan on several counts

Lalit Shastri

Pakistan and CounterterorismThe “Country Reports on Terrorism 2014” prepared by the Bureau of Counterterrorism and released by the US Department of State recently indicts Pakistan on several counts on the issue of counterterrorism cooperation.

The chapter dealing with Pakistan in the Bureau of Counterterrorism Report underscores that Pakistan remains a critical counterterrorism partner that is plagued with numerous violent extremist groups, many of which target Pakistani government or members of other religious sects but at the same time points out in categorical terms that counterterrorism cooperation with Pakistan during 2014 was mixed, and Pakistan continued to deny visas for trainers focused on law enforcement and civilian counterterrorism assistance.

Delays in obtaining Pakistani visas for training personnel have been an obstacle to counterterrorism assistance for security forces and prosecutors, including assistance planned through the Department of State’s Antiterrorism Assistance program, most of which was redirected to other regional partners.

The Report goes on to assert that Anti-Terrorism Courts in Pakistan have limited procedures for the admission of foreign evidence. The trial of seven suspects accused in the 2008 Mumbai terrorist attack was ongoing at year’s end, with prosecution witnesses recording statements before the court. Security concerns and procedural issues resulted in a slow pace of trial proceedings. On December 18, the court granted bail to the lead defendant, alleged Mumbai attack planner and LeT operational commander Zakiur Rehman Lakhvi. (On December 19, the government detained Lakhvi for at least four months under the Maintenance of Public Order Act).

It has further been highlighted that Pakistan’s cooperation with the United States on information sharing and law enforcement needs improvement with respect to kidnapped U.S. citizens. Law enforcement cooperation continued with respect to terrorist attacks and plots against U.S. personnel, and the Embassy and Consulates General in Lahore, Karachi, and Peshawar. Pakistani law-enforcement officials have pledged to assist in the apprehension of U.S. citizen fugitives in Pakistan but practical implementation of this pledge also has been lacking, it has been pointed out in the Report.

While bringing in focus Pakistan’s role as an active member of the Asia/Pacific Group on Money Laundering (APG), a Financial Action Task Force (FATF)-style regional body. Pakistan made a high-level political commitment to work with FATF and the APG in 2010 to address its strategic anti-money laundering/countering the financing of terrorism (AML/CFT) deficiencies, the Report says, Pakistan approved and enacted amendments to the ATA to rectify deficiencies identified by the FATF in its authority for freezing terrorist assets in accordance with international standards and UN Security Council Resolution (UNSCR) 1373 in June 2014 but since then, despite the ability to freeze and confiscate terrorist assets, Pakistan had not yet implemented that legislation (till the end of 2014). [More on Pakistan and Money laundering]

The Report reveals that the UN-designated terrorist organizations continued to skirt sanctions by reconstituting themselves under different names, often with little effort to hide their connections to previously banned groups, and the Pakistan government was not prosecuting such cases. Although Pakistan added some named groups to its proscribed organizations list, implementation of UNSCRs 1267 and 1988 remained weak. Pakistan also issued a UNSC Enforcement Order in 2012 setting out a range of sanctions for non-compliance in the implementation of UNSCR 1267, but had not used this authority. The FATF has determined that Pakistan needs to increase the administrative monetary penalty available or legislate for additional criminal sanctions.


The Bureau of Counterterrorism leads the Department of State in the whole-of-government effort to counter terrorism abroad and to secure the United States against foreign terrorist threats.

The predecessor organization to the Bureau of Counterterrorism was the Office for Combating Terrorism, created in 1972 upon the recommendation of a special committee appointed by President Richard Nixon following the terrorist attack at the Munich Olympics. The committee determined that an office was needed within the Department of State to provide day-to-day counterterrorism coordination and to develop policy initiatives and responses for the U.S. government. The Office for Combating Terrorism became the Office of the Coordinator for Counterterrorism in 1985, and the Bureau of Counterterrorism in 2012.

 

India-UAE have decided to build a comprehensive strategic partnership

Newsroom24x7 Staff

India and UAE reject extremism and any link between religion and terrorism

 

Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the Indian Community Reception in Dubai Cricket Stadium on August 17, 2015.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the Indian Community Reception in Dubai Cricket Stadium on August 17, 2015.

Abu Dhabi: The high watermark of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s UAE tour is the joint statement underscoring the resolve by India and UAE to reject extremism and any link between religion and terrorism.

The two nations have condemned efforts, including by states, to use religion to justify, support and sponsor terrorism against other countries. They have also deplored efforts by countries to give religious and sectarian colour to political issues and disputes, including in West and South Asia, and use terrorism to pursue their aims.

In Abu Dhabi, His Highness Crown Prince Mohamed Bin Zayed AI Nahyan and Prime Minister Narendra Modi agreed to seize the historic moment of opportunity and shared responsibility to chart a new course in their partnership for the 21st century.

The spirit of the joint statement, especially the resolve to combat terrorism, reverberated through the Dubai Cricket stadium here later today when Modi spoke at an Indian Community Reception.

The joint statement and Modi’s speech at the Cricket stadium is a loud message to Pakistan that the civilised world will not tolerate state-sponsored terrorism.

The joint statement says:”Today, as India accelerates economic reforms and improves its investment and business environment, and UAE becomes an increasingly advanced and diversified economy, the two countries have the potential to build a transformative economic partnership, not only for sustained prosperity of their two countries, but to also advance progress in the region and help realise the vision of an Asian Century. .

Yet, their common vision of progress and prosperity faces challenges from many shared threats to peace, stability and security in the region. A shared endeavour to address these challenges, based on common ideals and convergent interests, is vital for the future of the two countries and their region.

UAE is at the heart of the Gulf and West Asia region and its major economic hub. India, with seven million citizens in the Gulf, also has major energy, trade and investment interests in the region. The two nations also share a commitment to openness, peaceful coexistence and social harmony that are based on their cultural traditions, spiritual values and shared heritage. UAE is a shining example of a multi-cultural society. India is a nation of unparalleled diversity, religious pluralism and a composite culture.

Proximity, history, cultural affinity, strong links between people, natural synergies, shared aspirations and common challenges create boundless potential for a natural strategic partnership between India and UAE. Yet, in the past, relations between the two governments have not kept pace with the exponential growth in relations between their people or the promise of this partnership. However, the need for a close strategic partnership between UAE and India has never been stronger or more urgent, and its prospects more rewarding, than in these uncertain times.”

Both countries have decided to:

  • Elevate the India-UAE relationship to a comprehensive strategic partnership.
  • Coordinate efforts to counter radicalization and misuse of religion by groups and countries for inciting hatred, perpetrating and justifying terrorism or pursuing political aims. The two sides will facilitate regular exchanges of religious scholars and intellectuals and organise conferences and seminars to promote the values of peace, tolerance, inclusiveness and welfare that is inherent in all religions.
  • Denounce and oppose terrorism in all forms and manifestations, wherever committed and by whomever, calling on all states to reject and abandon the use of terrorism against other countries, dismantle terrorism infrastructures where they exist, and bring perpetrators of terrorism to justice.
  • Enhance cooperation in counter-terrorism operations, intelligence sharing and capacity building.
  • Work together for the adoption of India’s proposed Comprehensive convention on International Terrorism in the United Nations.
  • Work together to control, regulate and share information on flow of funds that could have a bearing on radicalization activities and cooperate in interdicting illegal flows and take action against concerned individuals and organizations.
  • Strengthen cooperation in law enforcement, anti-money laundering, drug trafficking, other trans-national crimes, extradition arrangements, as well as police training.

RBI will exchange information and seek mutual assistance from Central Bank of Seychelles

Newsroom24x7 Staff

rbi gateNew Delhi: The Reserve Bank of India has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on “Exchange of information and mutual assistance in banking sector supervision” with Central Bank of Seychelles (CBS).

This MoU is obviously, part of the drive to unearth black money and the global war against the menace of money laundering.

The MoU between RBI and Central Bank of Seychelle is significant  as Seychelles is known as a popular tax haven

 

The MoU for exchange of information and mutual assistance was inked by C. Edmond, First Deputy Governor, Central Bank of Seychelles and S. S. Mundra, Deputy Governor, Reserve Bank of India.

The Reserve Bank of India has been signing the Memorandum of Understanding / Exchange of Letters (EoL) / Statement of Co-operation (SoC) with supervisors of other countries to promote greater co-operation and sharing of supervisory information among the authorities. With this RBI has signed 25 such MoUs, one Letter for Supervisory Co-operation and one Statement of Co-operation, with overseas regulators/supervisors.

The MoU between RBI and Central Bank of Seychelle is significant  as Seychelles is known as a popular tax haven